Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Washington Tacoma Mission
4007 Bridgeport Way West, Suite D
Tacoma, WA 98466-4330

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Soundview: Chalk Drawing the Plan of Salvation, the Word of Wisdom, and a trip to the Family History Center!

Dear Family,

Thanks Charlotte and Claire for your e-mails!! I am so so proud of both of you for your hard work. It is so amazing to see all that you do in service projects and in church activities and temple trips and in AP summer homework. You are doing a lot better at that than I ever did! I send lots of love to you both as a proud older brother :)

And Connor, I thought your e-mail this week was awesome too. Not sure when you'll read this, but I'm flattered to hear that in your shout-outs, I come right after your family ha, ha.

It feel like so long ago that Elder Holt went home, and it's weird to think he is already starting school. It's also weird to think of Austin, Shane, and Taylor being home, and Travis and Dallin soon. I try not to think of when I will go home. As for this week, we had a few highlights:

On Saturday our district, with the APs also, went to Chamber's Bay. There is a huge park there. And a huge golf course, which is the location for next years PGA golf tour! University Place will be all on TV next summer. Past the park, right on the water is a bridge that goes over some train tracks and lands on the "beach" there. It is a popular spot for people to walk by. The mission has been focusing on new ways finding people to teach, and one suggestion given was to draw out the Plan of Salvation using chalk. President Blatter showed us all a video of some missionaries doing it in New York City I think. We decided to try it out! It took a while to draw it all out, but with 10 missionaries it went well. We all talked to a lot of people and it attracted the eye. Lots of people, throughout the day got to at least see the drawing, and think about where we came from, why we're here, and where we are going. We brought tons of pamphlets and Books of Mormon, and pass along cards. There were several interested people who gave us their information and became new investigators! Also, it was super fun.

Plan of Salvation using chalk

Elder Tommy Webber drawing mankind on Earth

Chalk outlines - Where did we come from? Where are we going to?
We went on an exchange and Elder DeLaigle came with me in Soundview. We taught Debra (that's the correct spelling of her name, I found out) and Cleo the Word of Wisdom. The lessons was one of my favorites on the Word of Wisdom. It seemed Cleo had just been waiting for us to ask her to quit coffee. After the lesson, she got up, went straight to the kitchen and started throwing all of her coffee stuff into trash bags for us to get rid of. That is visual repentance! We went home with a full Starbucks cafe in our hands. The challenge will be for Debra to quit smoking. She has tried for years, it is a tough addiction. We invited her to quit and be ready for baptism on the 30th. She was very excited for it. We think that she really struggled this week. So we're not sure if the baptism will go through this weekend, but we're still working with her. She can do it!!
Throwing out old habits - here is to a healthier you !
Tiffany came with us to the family history center on Saturday! Her mom (not a member of the LDS church) came also and they together were able to input Tiffany's parents and grandparents, and start on great grandparents. We are helping her prepare for our new member temple baptism trip on September 5th. Tiffany has her ups and downs though. She wasn't at church again yesterday. Elder Slavens and I were pretty disappointed, but honestly feel we are doing all that we can do.

Other than these, this week was pretty rough for us. We had nearly all of our other investigators drop us. 17/21 appointments fell through this week, as I look through my planner. We have never had so few people to teach. It is strange when that happens even when we are doing all we know how to do. That is why we are trying new ways to find, and working with the ward more than we have before. I know it will turn back around. It always does. It lead to us doing a lot of study on faith. The only thing/person that will never fail us or disappoint us or fall through is Jesus Christ. He is our unfailing source of hope and strength. He is perfect and all-knowing as His (and our) Father is perfect and all-knowing. Because of Their divine attributes we can exercise faith that will lead us to true peace and eternal life. The world will disappoint us, Christ will not. He loves us, and I testify this is true. I know because I am an example of one who has put it to the test. He has supported me in every trial and been patient with my weaknesses. I feel His forgiveness when I take the sacrament each Sunday. I cannot put into words my love for my Savior Jesus Christ.

Amazing that transfers are already next week. I am surprised that I am feeling like I do not want to leave Soundview. I thought 6 months here would be plenty, but I don't want to go! We will see what the Lord's plan is for me. Till next time,

With love,
Elder Webber

Scripture: Ether 12:4

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Soundview: Knock-a-thon and a Miracle Text

Note from Tommy's dad - Sorry this is almost a week late

Dear Family,

This morning Elder Holt flew home to Utah! Now it's just back to me and Elder Slavens. We'll miss him and the fun he added in our tri-panionship. We had a lot of good times together, laughing about the things that happen every day as a missionary. Mission life is crazy, but it's so much fun. He definitely had me thinking more of home, which might be bad, I don't want to get "trunky."

In my last letter from grandma, she told me that Allyson and McKay had a good 2 year anniversary (Happy Anniversary by the way!!!! Sorry this is late...) at the San Diego Zoo, which is funny because last P-day we went to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, as a zone. It is much smaller than San Diego, but it was still fun. A good mental brake from the work, as we got to laugh at monkeys, elephants, sharks, polar bears, and walruses... oh my.
Guess which Elder has 2 days left, hint: sunglasses, animal tie, shoes

Tommy and a Tiger

Much has happened with the work his week. The best part was probably Friday. We had planned to have an all-day "knock-a-thon," which none of us had ever done before! From 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with lunch/dinner breaks! We mainly were in Tacoma, and went to University Place for the evening. Total we were out for at least 8 hours and knocked on 258 doors (I counted ha, ha). As an aside, Elder Slavens and Elder Holt keep telling me I'm going to be a ward clerk someday.... Anyway, we got all excited about our "Finding Friday" and had a lot of fun. Knocking doors is where you get the best moments and memories, meet the craziest people, and have some awesome miracles, direct or indirect.
Knock-a-thon schedule

And the actual knocking...

The indirect miracle came at about 3:00 pm, 5 hours into our knocking. We've been working with Cleo and her non-member daughter Deborah, as you know. They both came to our Book of Mormon study class we had Thursday night, just the night before. We had read and discussed 2 Nephi 31, which explains the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). Deborah sent us a text that read,
"So I have made the decision to be baptized. Please help me arrange this. Thank you for being there."
I was the first to read it and then gave the phone to my companions. I've never had anything like that happen on my mission, we were so excited, beyond belief! Deborah is a very private person, but something from church, our visits, or the Book of Mormon has touched her and she now wants to be baptized. She still has some issues to work out, but if everything goes well, she could be baptized this weekend! We are super excited for her and Cleo. And Cleo by the way is an awesome member. She is soaking up everything in the church and was recognized yesterday at church as a new member to the ward because her records came in. That was pretty cool.

Speaking of church, yesterday was great. I'm really growing to love church. As I prepare for it, spiritually, I find enrichment and questions answered and worries soothed. Brother Rodriguez, a recent convert family from March gave a talk and great testimony, and we had a farewell talk by Jacob. He is 18 and graduated this year and leaves soon for his mission to Orlando Florida!! I told him to look out for Bishop Grover :).  Jacob is an awesome young man, and reminds me of where I was a year + ago. Their family is great and his older brother is on a mission in South Africa and his younger brother played "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" on cello with their mom on piano. Beautiful performance. Cleo and Deborah came to church also.

Some more updates: Tiffany came to our Book of Mormon class, but was sick yesterday morning for church. Later that day, Sunday, she was invited to our Bishop's home for dinner! We have an awesome Bishop. His wife and Tiffany have become friends. Another member of the church was there at dinner also, who we think will make a great friend for Tiffany. That's inspired missionary work. We're meeting Tiffany at the family history center this week to help her get some family names for an upcoming temple trip for recent converts in the ward!
Our faithful Soundview Ward Mission Leader, waiting outside for invitees

We're excited about the work. Soundview is so awesome. It's weird to think I've been here for nearly 6 months. It flies by. You are always in my prayers, I love you so much,

Elder Webber

Scriptures: I have been thinking and studying a lot about the Resurrection this week. See Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk: "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ"  (Dad, you can make the link thing work haha)
Job 19:25-26
Alma 40:23
**Luke 24:39-40
Hymn # 136 "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Soundview Strong: Zone conferences, painting a house, and investigator updates

Dear family,

I am going to start this letter with my scripture, instead of end with it. It is well known by every seminary student and continues to be a theme for my mission:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12).
In my Book of Mormon reading, I came to this chapter and studied it, then went to church the next day and heard a whole sacrament talk based off this scripture. He quoted it three times! The whole sacrament meeting had a theme of faith. And the more I serve and the more I study the more I learn that faith is the basis of it all. It is faith that moves us into and over our trials and "lands [our] souls ... at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven ... to go no more out" (Helaman 3:30).

Baptismal Service for Yao
I feel I am learning very important lessons by experience and trials, and Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me at how He can always give such personal and clear answers when we ask Him questions and seek His answers. Those answers most often come: during or after a quiet, kneeling prayer, in sacrament meeting, and in our searching of the scriptures. I have also found they come through family and priesthood leaders, as we seek their guidance.

Speaking of zone conferences, they were great! President Blatter did them a little different, by having 3 "breakout sessions" or workshops, you could call them, that we rotated through with our zone. We learned about "opening our mouth" (talking with everyone), different ideas for finding investigators, and working with members. Some of President Blatter's words at the end seemed a direct answer to a question I had, which I wrote down before the meeting started. That's pretty cool.

Brother Taylor, chief paint volunteer organizer in the congregation

Elder Webber, volunteer

Elder Webber's companions, one is cool enough to wear a calculator watch

We helped with the ongoing "Paint Tacoma Beautiful" project this week. It is really fun and Brother Taylor always brings us delicious donuts for everyone. We did most of the painting of the house Friday and Saturday and just have the trim work to finish up, probably on Tuesday.

Elder Webber contemplating the names of those he is teaching
Still working with our other investigators, I don't have a lot of time to go into each one. Cleo came to church again, but D____ slept in... T____ missed church again, we have an appointment tomorrow morning, so we're hoping to see that everything's ok. Syreeta went to church at 9:00 with Sister Gehring, since she had work in the afternoon. I'm glad she is becoming spiritually self-reliant that way. R____ hasn't found her answer yet, and is still stuck on a few of her ideas. She is so very sweet, but not as open to change. We had a good church tour on Saturday with an investigator named Tom (yes, a great name for a man!) and he is open to baptism! His son is a member in the Puyallop area. Tom is older, a Vietnam veteran, and has a few conspiracy ideas, but loves meeting with us.

Elder Webber at the mission office with President Blatter
Group shot at office
I pray all is well with you guys. Have a good time at girls camp, Charlotte and Claire, love you!

Elder Webber

Monday, August 4, 2014

Soundview: Cleo's realization and talking with everyone!

Hello family,

It is good to hear from you and write to you. I love you guys. So much of my strength day to day is because of you, I know you support me, love me, and pray for me. Thank you!! Soundview is doing well. It is fun being here for so long, because I really know the area and the people. I've definitely knocked every door in the area, many of them twice, and some three times. But we can always find new people home! We'll see people walking on the streets and I can go, "Oh, there's old Sheryl, still smoking her cigarettes!" But we stay busy with teaching appointments and visits. We got a list from the Elders Quorum President and the High Priests Group Leader of some households of families who are less active and potentially have a nonmember spouse or children. It's always great when you can reactivate a family and perhaps have a baptism at the same time.

We had a surprise with Cleo and her situation! After teaching the third lesson, she mentioned that she had been baptized before, in Spokane, 17 years ago! (Not sure why it didn't come up earlier...) She said she doesn't remember being confirmed or having a record. We had our ward clerk check on it, and sure enough, she's a member, confirmed and everything. We were at first disappointed, feeling like we were working toward baptism for no reason. We went over later that day for an appointment and her daughter Deborah was there, the first time she sat in a lesson with us. Her daughter, however, is not a member (we even checked), and Deborah is open to learning more! She is progressing slowly and doesn't want to be pushed, but has come to church twice now, and agreed to read the Book of Mormon. She said the closing prayer in our lesson, probably her first in a long time, and it was great. Looking back a little bit, all the progress Cleo made is real. Though we were never teaching an investigator, she still gained a testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and loves coming to church. She bore her testimony to her daughter. It's funny how the Lord works sometimes.

We're still teaching Renee, but she struggles to come to church since she has a lot of shoulder and hip pain (she's a little older). We taught her about prayer today, and talked about the nature of Heavenly Father and that He has a body. Very few religions believe that, but it really is important if we are to believe we are the children of God, made in His image and have the potential to become like Him and His perfect Son Jesus Christ.

J___ moved this week, we're not sure where. It's kind of sad actually. One of her kids flew to Georgia to stay with his dad, and the other kids did a lot of the moving. I think they're in a motel until they can find a place. We helped them move a big dresser downstairs, but J____ wasn't home. We are going to call her to try and stay in contact. They need a home first, then they can get connected with the church again. I really care about their family and want them to be happy and stable. But choices have consequences. We continue to pray for them.

Tiffany is doing well still. We are going to be involved more with her and teaching the new member lessons. She is still more comfortable with us around. She had a lot of stress this week, with family and friends, and spent yesterday in Lacey, not at church. We stopped by to see her last night and talked. She is still reading the Book of Mormon, every night after her kids go to bed. She likes going to church and understands she needs to hold on to the gospel. This is a difficult time for new members, because it is easy to slip back into old ways. I love the converts of this church and feel we have a great need to hold on to them.

Mission Leadership Council training

We have zone conferences this week. The Blatters are great, we have our MLC meeting and talked about finding and talking with everyone. They are great missionaries and find the opportunity to talk to everyone they meet, at the grocery store, the DMV, neighbors on the street, at the ice cream store, etc. It is a great example to us missionaries and to all members!

Mission Leadership Council
In my personal studies I've begun the Doctrine and Covenants. I read section 10 this morning on Joseph's gift to translate and the great trust given to him to have the plates. Satan does so much to trick us and deceive us because he wants us to be as miserable as he is. That is why we have the counsel to PRAY ALWAYS! I'm also reading the Book of Mormon again. Finished Alma this morning :)
Tommy is a volunteer, re-painting older homes for those who can't afford it

a program sponsored by the local Mormon congregation

Keep strong and be good, I am doing my best as a missionary. I love serving God every day. I have fun with my companions and at the mansion. All is well.

Elder Webber

D&C 10:5, 43